One of the most interesting and scenic African countries to explore is Senegal, which lies on the west coast of the continent. The nation is ideal for backpackers as it has so much to see and do. This includes rich culture and history and some remnants from its French colonial rule along with six national parks and many superb beaches.
French is the official language and you’ll find that Senegal enjoys a warm climate. It has a dry season between December and May and a wet season between May and November, when it’s also quite hot and humid.
Dakar is the capital city and is ideal for exploring on foot. There are also lots of hotels to choose from which are quite inexpensive. The city has a couple of bustling markets where you can buy local produce and arts and crafts as well as clothing. If you’d like to learn about the local history and culture, the best place to visit is the IFAN museum. When the sun goes down, the nightlife comes alive as there are several lively bars, nightclubs, and pubs.
Another interesting town is St-Louis, located in the Langue de Barbarie peninsula. It is filled with French colonial architecture and influences. Some of the most popular attractions are the governor’s palace, the St-Louis Cathedral, and the Muslim cemetery. The cathedral is the oldest church in the country.
There are some fine beaches just outside the town along the peninsula; and a little to the south you’ll find the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie. The park is a great place for spotting many types of birds, including pelicans and flamingos.
The best way to travel around the country and view the attractions and scenery is by minibus or a bus. These are pretty easy to find as there are quite a few companies and individuals who will be happy to drive you around. You’ll be able to see some spectacular scenery and African wildlife this way.
The number of hotels is increasing in Senegal and there are also some luxury resorts on the ocean. The dry season can get pretty busy and it’s a good idea to reserve your rooms. Camping is quite popular in the reserves and national parks and some of the grounds have small huts and bungalows for rent. Some small villages may also have a hut or two to offer the visitors.